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    Joint venture company IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Ltd. to provide big boost to Indian agriculture and rural economy
    • Airtel’s  telecom products and services to become lifeline for rural India
    • Unique VAS platform to offer free daily voice updates on mandi prices, farming techniques, weather forecasts, fertilizer availability
    • Dedicated helpline for farmers to answer their queries

    New Delhi, May 2, 2008: Bharti Airtel Limited, India’s leading integrated telecommunications services provider, and Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative limited  (IFFCO) today announced the launch of a joint venture company IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Limited (IKSL), that is set to provide a major boost to Indian agriculture and the rural economy at large. The joint venture company will harness the power of telecom to add value to the farm sector and empower the rural farmer by giving him access to vital information, which will enhance his livelihood and quality of life.

    Announcing this initiative, Mr. Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman and Managing Director, Bharti Airtel Limited said, “The telecom revolution has truly transformed India and we believe that the benefits must reach the rural population. As a company we are committed to taking our services to every corner of the country and the launch of IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Ltd. is a major landmark in this direction. We are delighted to partner IFFCO and are confident that our innovative telecom products and services, especially created for the farming community, will enhance their productivity and play a bigger role in India’s growth story. The Indian farmer can now look forward to the benefits of mobile telephony and mobile internet through this initiative.”

    Dr. U.S.Awasthi, Managing Director, IFFCO, said, “IFFCO’s heart and soul lives in rural India.  It is an organization of the farmers, for the farmers and by the farmers and works on the model of cooperatives.  We have been constantly endeavoring to enrich the lives of the farmers through creating and strengthening cooperative institutions, and providing them the best quality inputs in the form of fertilizers and knowledge.  IFFCO has created, nurtured and promoted institutions such as Indian Farm Forestry Development Cooperative, IFFCO Foundation, Cooperative Rural development Trust (CORDET), and Kisan Sewa Trust to impart training, knowledge and education to the farmer at his doorstep. Any amount of effort is inadequate to reach the nook and corner of this country. The mobile technology, however, seems to us a God-Sent opportunity for carrying out this mission. We feel that there is a great opportunity in telecom sector going to rural India to create new business opportunities for the cooperatives where farmers are the key stakeholders. Synergizing on IFFCO’s presense in about 98 percent of villages throughout the country, Airtel would use IKSL as a vehicle to make its mobile telecom services reach the rural masses.”

    Dr. Awasthi further added, “IFFCO Kisan Sanchar Ltd. is, therefore, a unique venture to strengthen the Cooperative movement in rural India, to empower the farmers through information, to boost the rural economy, and also to create rural employment. Communication being the key for empowering farmers, IFFCO decided to join hands with the most admired brand, Airtel.”

    IKSL will offer products and services, specifically designed for farmers, through IFFCO societies in villages across the country. On offer will be affordable mobile handsets bundled with Airtel mobile connection. The farmer will also get access to a unique VAS platform that will broadcast 5 free voice messages on mandi prices, farming techniques, weather forecasts, diary farming, animal husbandry, rural health initiatives and fertiliser availability etc. on a daily basis. In addition, the farmer will be able to call a dedicated helpline, manned by experts from various fields, to get answers to their specific queries.

    Bharti Airtel will offer competitive calling rates @ 50 paise/minute for calls between IFFCO members. This is expected to promote community building within the society and rural community at large. Bharti Airtel will also set up towers at sites provided by IFFCO societies to provide quality services to farmers.

    IKSL will roll out its services in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh in the first phase. The second phase will see the partnership being extended to Gujarat, Maharastra, Goa, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala. The rollout of the second phase is expected to begin by May 2008.

    About Bharti Airtel

    Bharti Airtel Limited, a group company of Bharti Enterprises, is India’s leading integrated telecom services provider with an aggregate of 64.26 million customers as of end of March 2008, consisting of 61.98 million mobile customers. Bharti Airtel has been rated among the best performing companies in the world in the Business Week IT 100 list 2007.

    Bharti Airtel is structured into three strategic business units - Mobile services, Telemedia services and Enterprise services. The mobile business provides mobile & fixed wireless services using GSM technology across 23 telecom circles. The Telemedia business provides broadband and telephone services in 94 cities and is foraying into the IPTV and DTH segments. The Enterprise services business provides end-to-end telecom solutions to corporate customers and national and international long distance services to carriers. All these services are provided under the Airtel brand. Airtel’s high-speed optic fibre network currently spans over 73,787 kms covering all the major cities in the country. The company has two international landing stations in Chennai that connects two submarine cable systems - i2i to Singapore and SEA-ME-WE-4 to Europe. For more information, visit www.bhartiairtel.in

    About IFFCO

    Indian Farmers Fertiliser Cooperative Limited (IFFCO) is a cooperative society incorporated on 3rd November, 1967;  presently deemed to be registered under the Multi-State Cooperative Societies Act 1984 with the spirit of a tireless pioneer, IFFCO committed itself to achieve its prime role of providing quality fertilisers and agricultural services to India's farming community. Over the years, the cooperative has evolved into a gigantic Indian Multinational and set records for excellent and consistent performance in the filed of production, marketing and services to farmers. As a society "of the farmers, by the farmers and for the farmers", IFFCO has firmly established itself as a true Cooperative and perfect role model for others to emulate on the path of economic development. IFFCO has steadily grown from strength to strength-from a modest membership of 57 societies in 1967-68 to 39,456 societies at present.

    Today, IFFCO's unique marketing network channelises its products like NPK/NP/DAP/Urea through 39,456 member cooperative services, Marketing Federations and 158 Farmers Service Centers (FSC) spread over 29 States/Union Territories across the country. Having the Largest Market share of Fertilisers Production in India with 25% in Complex Fertilsers and 20% in Urea it has also become the First Cooperative in India to set-up First ever Kisan SEZ at Nellore, Andhra Pradesh. IFFCO is bringing smiles to millions and planting them across the nation's rural landscapes by its total commitment for Rural India through it's associates like IFFCO Foundation, IFFDC, CORDET, Kisan Sewa Trust dedicated towards farmers service. Apart from all this, IFFCO is also ensuring farmers interests by its General Insurance Company IFFCO-Tokio General Insurance Company (ITGI) & IFFCO Chattishgarh Power Ltd. (ICPL). For further information, visit www.iffco.nic.in